SOUTHPORT, North Carolina -- The U.S. Army Sustainment Command partnered with the Army National Guard Directorate uniting NG units from six states and elements of the U.S. Army Reserve and Active Army at Military Ocean Terminal -- Sunny Point (MOTSU) to offload equipment and munitions from the Army Motor Vessel, Lt. Col. John U.D. Page. The cargo was then distributed to six Joint Munitions Command (JMC) depots across the United States for storage and maintenance.

The mission, Operation Patriot Bandoleer (OPB), involved more than 700 NG service members and spanned most of the spring, beginning mid-March and ending mid-May.

"The overall activities are in support of the MV (Motor Vessel) Page's maintenance cycle, both in terms of on-the-ground operations to prepare the material for reload to the ship, as well as to move retrograded material from here to the depots," said Richard Harris, project manager for Class V (ammunition) operations at Army Strategic Logistics Activity-Charleston (ASLAC). "That's the part the National Guard is playing. They're moving the material from MOTSU to the depots."

Under the direction of MOTSU marine cargo specialists, contracted stevedores and Army Reserve units offloaded more than 2,500 containers of equipment and munitions from the Page, of which 833 containers were for OPB. The containers were then placed on trucks and moved to storage pads to await disposition. With the help of Army Reserve Soldiers, NG transportation units from Georgia, North Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Oklahoma and Connecticut picked them up for transport to the depots.

The 110th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB), Georgia NG, assisted in planning the operation and served as command and control.

"This is important because we're all here for the same fight," said Capt. Janna Hoeg, OPB planner, 110th CSSB. "We need to know that we can work together; we can accomplish the mission successfully with all those different organizations; the different cultures and the different personalities."

The planning for and execution of OPB required coordination with MOTSU operations personnel, ASC Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) planners, ASLAC, JMC and their depots, as well as the six states with units hauling the cargo and every state they travelled through.

"A concern we understood was the movement across the states," she said. "Each state has their own restrictions and their own laws, and we needed to get permits to do this type of movement."
According to planners, OPB's added bonus was the real-world training the Guard Soldiers received while simultaneously satisfying an ASC operational requirement.

"From the National Guard perspective, the main thing, of course, is the real-world training," said Hoeg. "The morale you get by doing real-world situations like this; it changes how the Soldiers treat the mission, the morale during the mission and the overall success of the mission."

The furthest destination was Tooele Army Depot in Utah, about 2,300 miles from MOTSU.

"It is an awesome experience physically witnessing the excitement in the Soldiers' eyes and the energy in their body language as they prepare for and execute the initial movements of the two-month training event," said Timothy Fore, APS director.

Staff Sgt. Justin Bailey, a military truck driver assigned to the 1230th Transportation Company, Georgia NG, said he and his Soldiers had been ready for this mission "since they got the word."

"They're actually behind the trucks, and they're feeling good about it," he said. "We're truck drivers, and this is what we're trained for. This is boosting morale a lot, and the Soldiers are ready to go."

The Georgia NG began the exercise, moving 137 containers 530 miles through North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to Anniston Army Depot in Alabama.

"This was a great operation and excellent teamwork by the Georgia National Guard Soldiers and 'Team Anniston'," said Lt. Col. Shayne Moore, Anniston Munitions Center commander.

Maj. Gen. Elizabeth Austin, assistant deputy commanding general, Army National Guard, Army Materiel Command, said OPB was not only a training opportunity for the NG Soldiers but an opportunity to partner with other Army elements.

"This is working on building relationships with AMC and the National Guard and Army Reserve," she said. "After 12 years of war, we don't want our reserve components to lose the skills they have sharpened. So, missions like this are perfect opportunities for them to keep those skills at the level they have them now."

About halfway through the exercise, the NG units were able to support the movement of an additional 517 pieces of equipment from MOTSU to ASLAC in Goose Creek, South Carolina. According to OPB planners, the efficiency of the initial push allowed for the additional mission requirement and afforded an extended training opportunity for the units involved.

APS, an ASC program, manages stores of strategically positioned equipment and munitions, both on land and at sea, making it available when and where needed for contingency operations and humanitarian relief efforts.

MOTSU, which is aligned under the Army's Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's (SDDC) 596th Transportation Brigade, is one of SDDC's two ammunition distribution terminals and the key ammunition shipping point on the Atlantic Coast for the Department of Defense. It is a transfer point between rail, trucks and ships for the overseas movement of military equipment and munitions.